BELLEVILLE, Ill. — The state’s auditor general says the Illinois Lottery violated state finance law by prepaying $20 million to ensure it could participate in future multi-state lottery games even without a state budget.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports ( ) that the lottery made two $10 million payments on June 30, 2015, when it was clear lawmakers had failed to agree on a state budget that should have begun the next day.

The Lottery Department disputes the findings and denies any laws were broken.

According to the audit, lottery officials made the early payments because they worried the looming budget stalemate would prevent participation in the Multi-State Lottery Association’s future Powerball and Mega Millions games.

The audit says finance law requires appropriated money to be spent in the year for which it was appropriated.

Information from: Belleville News-Democrat,